Opening Doors Part 6

Visual Recognition

At this level we are observing visual processing and cognitive responses to discover whether the child appears to have a preference between two different coloured tents.This would be based upon a familiar and consistent experience of two different colours which are set up for the child to experience one at a time. When this is a familiar routine, the choice between two tents can be offered one after the other. We are observing whether the child's responses within each tent are consistent through any changes in facial expression and possible vocalisations. It is imperative when a child is being placed in a tent that they are allowed to process information at their own speed and not to disrupt their process through talking or going inside the tent. In this way the child has time to be in their own private special space and respond to that experience. We are also adding a simple and uncluttered word auditory cue which can be used when moving the child from one tent to another. The child needs to be moved slowly from one tent to the next by using a one word auditory cue, for example saying: "Orange" or "Green" (or the colour of the tent being used) before they enter it and when they leave it. Once a preference has been consistently observed, communication through facial expression and/or vocalisation can be developed using clear and simple language building upon the one word cue, and in using intensive interaction in a communication programme.

Case study: Visual Recognition (including auditory cue recognition)

Ali appeared to be calmer and more involved with the world around her after a year of regular sessions in the orange tent. She appeared ready for the next stage and was offered the choice of two coloured tents between orange(which had initially triggered her visual awareness)and fluorescent green. Ali expressed her preference for orange by her use of vocalisations and her level of visual attention. She was consistent in her expression through her facial and body language as well as her vocalisations. Ali stilled to listen to the one word auditory cue before entering each tent. We found that the best response came from including a 1...2...3 before the word to cue anticipation. With each child the response is different. However keeping to a one word cue at this stage keeps the environment simple and uncluttered.

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